Parliamentary panel move to break Lokpal logjam | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Parliamentary panel move to break Lokpal logjam

In a move which may help break the Lokpal logjam, a parliamentary panel is set to recommend sweeping changes in a bill which for will allow citizens to complain against corrupt judges. Nagendar Sharma reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2011 02:28 IST
Nagendar Sharma

In a move which may help break the Lokpal logjam, a parliamentary panel is set to recommend sweeping changes in a bill which for the first time will allow the citizens to complain against corrupt judges.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, which has examined the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, in its report will recommend inclusion of eminent non-judiciary people in the panel proposed to probe corruption charges against judges. The report is likely to be finalised on Thursday.

The Hazare team has so far opposed the judicial standards bill, saying it provides for a probe by judges against “their brothers who would be facing allegations of corruption”.

The panel’s report could enable the Centre to amend the original bill, as Team Anna has indicated that it could give up its demand on bringing the judiciary within the lokpal’s ambit.

The panel has recommended an amendment in the bill to “enable the Lok Sabha speaker and Rajya Sabha chairman to nominate one MP each from each House in the National Judicial Oversight Committee”.

According to the bill, this committee comprising a retired Chief Justice of India, a sitting Supreme Court judge, a chief justice of the high court and the Attorney General, would be empowered to initiate a probe into corruption allegations against judges.

“The committee insists that all the three organs — the executive, judiciary and legislature have to be represented in the Oversight panel,” states the draft report. The parliamentary panel has also questioned the composition of the “Complaints Scrutiny Panel”, which will examine the complaints against judges and would forward them to the oversight committee, only if it finds merit in them.

“Under the present bill, the complaint against a judge would only be scrutinised by his colleagues. We feel that the Complaints Scrutiny Panel (CSP) cannot reserve its membership only for members of the judiciary in the name of its independence,” says the report.

The panel has asked the government to “include non-judicial members in the CSP” on the lines of the Oversight Committee. It has also asked the government to do away with the clause providing five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh to those whose complaints would turn out to be false.